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British Culture since 1945 Part III

Seminar Paper 2004 21 Pages

Didactics - English - Applied Geography

Excerpt

Representations, Realia, Examples 1945-1970 (Worksheet3)

1) From the Bomb to the Beatles 1 is an exhibition catalogue written by Juliet Gardiner and Terence Conran (1999)

It was compiled to accompany an exhibition at London’s Imperial War Museum.

This exhibition shows how Britain changed culturally and socially from 1945 to the mid-sixties. First the population was shattered by World War II, the years of austerity were followed by years of prosperity. The catalogue shows how quickly cultural taste can change in connection with the altering of economic and social conditions.2

2) The Festival of Britain 1951

The idea came from plans to celebrate the midpoint of the century and at the same time the centenary of the Great Exhibition (of arts and merchandise) in 1851 to show the whole world Britain’s wealth and power. It was a time when Britain had begun to over come the consequences of World War II. The Festival was a symbol of hope for the whole nation and marked the end of austerity and the beginning of wealth. The Royal Festival Hall is on the south bank of the River Thames. It was constructed for the Festival in Britain, opened in 1951 and seats nearly 3000 people. A lot of concerts with international orchestras but also literary works are performed in this concert hall and a lot of exhibitions take place in this building.

The Festival of Britain 1951 and The Royal Festival Hall are mentioned in Hare ’ s play “ Plenty ” ( further information on David Hare: view presentation).

Scene four of the play takes the audience to the Festival of Britain. This scene takes place on May 4, 1951, the opening day of the Festival. The Festival was a celebration of the midpoint of the new century and of the centenary of the Great Exhibition in 1851. The author describes the celebratory fireworks of the Festival. At the opening night Susan and Mick stand talking about having a child and look across the Thames.

The Festival “was a vast sprawl of exhibits covering 27 acres on the South Bank, including the newly opened Festival Hall3 and the area where the National Theatre now stands.”4

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3) Notting Hill (film and script, 1999); To Sir, With Love by E.R. Braithwaite Notting Hill view worksheet 1, question 3

To Sir, With Love is a novel written by E.R. Braithwaite, which was also transformed into a film with Sidney Poitier in 1966.

A black teacher had to teach a completely undisciplined class at an East End school. In reality he is an engineer and still hopes for an engineering job. First he feels uncertain and he can only overcome the difficulties with these young people who have no interest in learning, by trying to understand their situation and by winning their hearts.5

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4) The War Game 6 by Peter Watkins

Peter Watkins is a cinematic director who made films that had a political bent, but proved to be only pseudo-documentary.

The War Game - which is about a nuclear attack on Kent in England - was going to be broadcasted by the BBC in remembrance of the dropping of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima twenty years before. But it was too shocking and therefore banned. But critics say that it was banned because of its critical attitude towards the nuclear policy of the government (only twenty years later - in 1985 it was screened after having won a lot of Awards for its cinemaversion).7

5) The Trial of Lady Chatterley, ed. C.H.Rolph:

The Trial of Lady Chatterley 8 view worksheet 1, question 5

Cecil Hewitt Rolph 9 (1901-1994) was a journalist and criminologist.

First he was a member of the City of London Police Force and a Chief

Inspector. After having left the police force he began a career as journalist, later becoming a member of the editorial staff on “The New Statesman” and editor of “The Author”.

He contributed a lot to the discussions on the obscenity laws. In the last years of his life he investigated the methods of the “Church of Scientology”.10

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C.H. Rolph

6) Jacob Epstein (1880-1959)

His parents were Polish refugees and Jacob was born in New York, studied drawing, went to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and was taught by Auguste Rodin. In 1905 Jacob Epstein moved to London where he stayed and worked chiefly in England. There he became famous as a pioneer of modern sculpture and he “protested” against pretty art. His realistic works often broke taboos and shocked the public and his works were often condemned as obscene. But “London was not ready for ….his 18 large nude sculptures…considered shocking by Edwardian standards, they were later hacked and mutilated for “decency”11.12

7) Diana Dors13 (1931-1984)

She was the British “Marilyn Monroe”, a sexy bombshell who also played more serious roles in certain performances. Some of her films: Baby Love (1969), “The Amazing Mr Blunden” (1972) in which she played a grubby housekeeper, “Three of All” (1975) etc..

She tried to make a career in Hollywood but failed. In the Seventieth she had great success with “Queenie’s Castle as the Yorshire matriarch of a rough family living in a council flat. This TV sitcom …was the ideal vehicle for her talents. Queenie was loud, common and determined to be herself and Dors revelled in the part.14

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8) Buddy Holly15 (1936-1959)

He was a singer and guitar player, but also a songwriter.

In 1978 his life story was transformed to a musical, called The Buddy Holly Story, which was an enormous success and showed his contribution to music, especially to Rock`n`Roll. His career lasted only three years (from 1956 to 1959) and was abruptly ended by a plane crash. His style was similar to Elvis Presley. “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” with “Raining in My Heart16 on the reverse side, and “True Love Ways” became hits.17

[...]


1 picture: http://hometown.aol.co.uk/freddaviesopen/books.html

2 Cf. http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1855856646/virtualli.../026-0366564-992443 and http://www.london-se1.co.uk/books/bomb.html

3 picture: http://melbourneblogger.blogspot.com/2011/08/modernism-at-festival-of-britain-1951.html

4 Donesky, Finlay: David Hare. Moral and Historical Perspectives. Greenwood Press, London, 1996, p. 74

5 picture: http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0062376 and Cf. http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0062376

6 pictures: http://www.dover-web.co.uk/dover_in_the_movies.asp and http://homepage.ntlworld.com/.../ukbookguide/series/wargame.html

7 Cf. http://www.roogulator.esmartweb.com/sf/wargame.htm and http://www.bfi.org.uk/videocat/more/wargame/

8 picture: http://www.abc.net.au/nn/history/verbatim/stores/S125412.htm

9 picture: http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Library/Shelf/rolph/

10 Cf. http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/*dest/Library/Shelf/rolph

11 http://www.usisrael.org/jsource/biography//jepstein.html

12 Cf. http://www.iniva.org/harlem/jacob.html

13 picture: http://www.hollywoodpinup.com/glamour/ddors.html

14 http://www.britishpictures.com/stars/Dors.htm and Cf. http://home.clara.net/digger/sixties/starsc-d.htm

15 picture: http://www.npr.org/display_pages/features/feature_1496872.html

16 song lyrics: http://www.marcogiunco.com/Testi/001538_09.htm

17 Cf. Dictionary of English Language and Culture. Longman Group UK, Essex, 1992, p. 633 Cf. http://www.famoustexans.com/buddyholly.htm and http://www.countrystars.com/artists/bholly.html

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Title: British Culture since 1945 Part III